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It's time for civil rights and environmental activists to join hands

Somehow environmental justice got lost at the rally commemorating the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington for Freedom & Jobs. The 50-plus speakers at the August 24 gathering, which drew tens of thousands of people to the nation’s capital, spoke out about restoring voting rights, fighting “stand your ground” laws, and pushing for stronger worker wages. But little was said about how people of color suffer disproportionately from polluted air and water, and are the first to suffer because of climate change.That was unfortunate. Whether the organizers of last weekend’s rally knew it or not, the 1963 March on Washington inspired some of the pioneering activists who created the modern-day environmental movement. Some of those environmentalists participated in the civil rights movement that birthed the 1963 March. Since that time, however, the environmental and civil rights movements have never fully gelled together, despite some efforts to make that happen along the way.There were signs that the organizers of last weekend’s rally were again trying to connect the dots. The National Action Network, the civil rights organization that lead the 50th anniversary rally, listed environmental justice as one of the issues motivating the march:In Los Angeles, African Americans are twice as likely to die in a heat wave. 68% of African Americans live within 30 miles of a coal plant and this creates more incidences of asthma. Latino children are twice as likely to die from an asthma attack as non-Latino children.

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28 Aug
Beyond Coal @BeyondCoal
It’s time for civil rights & environmental activists to join hands: http://t.co/9p1TGYTPw3 (by @brentinmock, includes our @QJames) #MOW50
28 Aug
David Roberts @drgrist
From @bmockaveli: It’s time for civil rights and environmental activists to join hands http://t.co/vhz8FB7HNS
28 Aug
SACE @cleanenergyorg
It’s time for civil rights and environmental activists to join hands http://t.co/5wfwKKP3Py via @grist